Sunday, February 26, 2012

Begging Strangers for Juice on a Run

On Saturday I had a relatively hard time unglueing my butt from the coach.  I was tired and my knee still hurt, but finally just before dusk I decided that a nice 3-mile run would do me well.  Assuming I'd be gone for 25 or so minutes, I didn't bother getting out my red flashing anklet or my headlamp.  I felt fine, laced up my shoes, strapped on my Garmin and left. 

At about 1/2 mile into my run, I felt tired.  I assumed this was from spending most of the day relaxing.  By 1 mile, I felt a little better and the pain in my knee disappeared,  I ran in the street for the next half mile due to snow-covered sidewalks, and reached my turn-around point.  At about 1.6 miles into the run, my legs were uneasy.  I knew what it was: my blood sugar was low, and dropping.  I only get the "shaky legs" symptom when I am really, really low (like 30s).  I immediately regretted my decision to not bring any form of glucose/food with me. 

Low, I sat down on the side walk to "think."  If i am low, my thinking is of very low-quality.  Normal things do not typically make sense.  After a few minutes, I thought the best option would be continue to run home.  Totally not logical, right?  But that made perfect sense to my low-blood-sugar self.  At 2 miles into the run, my legs became unsteady again.  Once again, I sat down on the sidewalk.  At this time, a car drove by and asked me what number was on the house I was near.  After saying it, I started to cry.  When I get low, I also cry at almost anything. 

I felt like a scared, lost child and couldn't figure out what to do.  Pretty soon after, a car pulled into the driveway that I was sitting near.  Out of the car step 2 old guys, both with white hair.

"Are you okay?" they ask.

"Do you have any juice that I can have?"

"Do you want to come in?  My wife is inside.  You can get out of the cold that way." (It was in the teens)

"I am fine outside.  I just need some juice.  I have a low blood sugar."

Both men go inside, and one brings me a full glass of orange juice.  I hate orange juice, but was so thankful that this stranger was being so incredibly kind to me.  A couple out on a walk then came up to me and the kind old man.  They asked if I was fine, I filled them in on what was happening in as few words as possible, to which they replied that they had no sugar.  But if I needed a ride home their house was close by.  The old man told me he would be right back.

I continued to sit on the sidewalk, waiting for my orange juice to kick in.  The old man then came back for a blanket for me because "you'll freeze if you are out here a minute more."  I politely declined the blanket and he went on to tell me about low blood sugars - the details which are fuzzy now.  I think someone he knew was diabetic, or he could have been a type 2.  Anyway, a few minutes later i was feeling decent enough to run one mile home.

I thanked the kind old man and ran home.  When I tested I was 42 (20 minutes after orange juice).

Things could have turned out far different for me today if it weren't for some kind people.  Looking back, it was stupid that I didn't test my blood sugar beforehand and bring something with me.  Although carrying things is inconvenient, it is necessary.  I am truly lucky that things turned out the way they did and not worse.

Thank you, kind stranger.  


  1. wow. Firstly, I'm sorry this happened. Secondly, thankful for kind strangers.
    I can't say I've ever run without any source of sugar no matter how short the run. I'm afraid of this happening mostly because I don't like to talk to strangers when I'm in need. I cry too when I'm low, it's a panic response.
    so girl, shove a GU in your sports bra or something! :)

  2. How scary! Thank goodness for kind people - it's so nice to know there are people out there like that.